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Open Access Research article

Cryopreservation of human colorectal carcinomas prior to xenografting

Michael Linnebacher1*, Claudia Maletzki1, Christiane Ostwald2, Ulrike Klier1, Mathias Krohn1, Ernst Klar1 and Friedrich Prall2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of General Surgery, Division of Molecular Oncology and Immunotherapy, Clinic for Surgery, Schillingallee 35, 18057 Rostock, Germany

2 Institute of Pathology; Strempelstr. 14, 18055 Rostock, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:362  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-362

Published: 8 July 2010



Molecular heterogeneity of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) is well recognized, forming the rationale for molecular tests required before administration of some of the novel targeted therapies that now are rapidly entering the clinics. For clinical research at least, but possibly even for future individualized tumor treatment on a routine basis, propagation of patients' CRC tissue may be highly desirable for detailed molecular, biochemical or functional analyses. However, complex logistics requiring close liaison between surgery, pathology, laboratory researchers and animal care facilities are a major drawback in this. We here describe and evaluate a very simple cryopreservation procedure for colorectal carcinoma tissue prior to xenografting that will considerably reduce this logistic complexity.


Fourty-eight CRC collected ad hoc were xenografted subcutaneously into immunodeficient mice either fresh from surgery (N = 23) or after cryopreservation (N = 31; up to 643 days).


Take rates after cryopreservation were satisfactory (71%) though somewhat lower than with tumor tissues fresh from surgery (74%), but this difference was not statistically significant. Re-transplantation of cryopreserved established xenografts (N = 11) was always successful. Of note, in this series, all of the major molecular types of CRC were xenografted successfully, even after cryopreservation.


Our procedure facilitates collection, long-time storage and propagation of clinical CRC specimens (even from different centres) for (pre)clinical studies of novel therapies or for basic research.